Stephen King isn't just a master of selling published works. His imagination sells digital copies too. His agent, Ralph Vicinanza, said Tuesday that downloads of King's e-book novella "UR" have reached "five figures" after barely three weeks on the market. While Amazon would not be providing specific numbers until 60 days after the Feb. 12 release, Ralph added: "We've been told that they're in the five figures already."
This comes a few years after the author released his first e-book novella, "Riding the Bullet", successfully to the online readers. That work was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, overwhelming Amazon.com and other online publishing websites.
"We're excited, " Vicinanza says. "They're happy, we're happy and from the initial information that we're getting it seems to be a success."
As of Tuesday afternoon, "UR" was No. 18 on Amazon's list of Kindle best-sellers. Vicinanza had approached King with the idea of writing a story for release as an e-book as a way to "create some excitement" in electronic publishing at a time when the book industry is going through tough times.
The New York-based agent recommended the strategy even though the Kindle and competing devices account for no more than 1 percent of overall book sales. "UR" eventually will be made available in print, he said.
The Kindle 2, a slimmed-down model with upgraded components and storage capacity, went on sale Feb. 9 for $359. The gadget downloads books, newspaper stories and blog posts over a wireless network. "UR," available as a download for $2.99, is about a college English instructor whose pink Kindle allows him to access new books by famous dead authors as well as newspapers that tell of a future event that he is compelled to try to forestall.